You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
Upper Michigan, mid-September 2021
Lest they try to follow us on our Grand Walk, the pets need to stay indoors; it's a pity that we can't explain the rationale for that, neither of them speaks any English.
Another windy day on Lake Superior, but sunny, and perfect for a brisk walk
Off we go. Our destination is the mouth of the famous Flintsteel River, to be seen (or, rather, not to be seen) out there on the horizon.
Our lakeshore route has been nicely ornamented by La Nature.
Fun with Driftwood
We've got one eye on the breakers for any more logs the size of RV vehicles rolling and tumbling in.
Fun for the whole family
On nearly all of our visits to the 'South Beach' cottages, we've taken a beach-walk over to the Flintsteel River, but miraculously, every year it has moved some distance farther away.
A classic; like maybe Rodin
The unattractive stub end of something that's buried well down into the sand
Kristin is happy to walk forever in bare feet on the sand, but some of us are condemned by long feet-overuse to wear 'water shoes' for minimal comfort.
These look like recent arrivals, perhaps last night.
The eagles' Shore Patrol (call in your tiny shrews and voles)
No incoming RV vehicles
We've put the shoreside sand escarpment behind us -- cottages along here must be more vulnerable to the towering waves.
Perhaps the homeowners out this way take some special precautions against the big storms . . .
. . . like this.
Is that really enough? Evidently so, so far.
Maybe the offshore topography is more merciful here, and the storm surges more civilized than ours are.
But they still get their fair share of the washed-up widowmakers.
A dinosaur pelvis
Presumably the stilts help, but still. . . .
We should have arrived hours ago!
-- Patience. Carry on.
An amazing find -- an authentic narwhal tusk
It's easier to employ someone to build your beach cottage, but more expensive.
A wigwam made by incompetents
And a jumble of afterthoughts
A former tree with a generous supply of former roots
There's a quick movement in the treetops . . .
. . . and the Beach Patrol resumes its work.
That's a much more convincing wigwam.
A flattened out path to the water's edge, almost welcoming the storm surges in.
This is been going on forever, almost, and to make it more challenging, the soles have fallen more-than-half-off our 'water shoes'. So they're flopping.
A lonely behemoth hunk of former tree
Now, dragging the sole of one of our 'water shoes' behind us and limping, we're here!
Congratulations -- well plodded!
We're here, but the Flintsteel River is not. That's the Flintsteel in the background, but it's lost all connection to the lake.
The Flintsteel River has become the 28.3 mile Flintsteel Lake.
Sad. Now, as one member of our party has come up with the clever idea of tying the soles of our 'water shoes' on with the shoelaces, we can rally our spirits and face the notion of tramping back in all that sand.
If all goes as planned, we should be back down the beach in not much more than a hour, so nightfall should not be a problem. Well, we'll see.
One is weaving back and forth across the beach, looking for the most walkable sand stretches.
A lakeside reminder of one's proper priorities
There's not much of the beach left here -- next year we may have to fight our way through the forest.
We're staring into the sun the whole way back -- we should have thought of that.
At last, we're home, saying hello to the cats, and goodbye to our . . .
. . . traitorous 'water shoes'.
Next morning, 18 September 2021, the cats have been dashing round outside for the past half hour, and have gone quiet. We've looked everywhere -- perhaps they're hiding for some reason, or perhaps they've wandered off, to be struck by a car or mauled by a wild boar.
We're setting off on a cat-search of the neighborhood.
That, we've been told, improbably, is a disused shack for ice-fishermen. They drag the thing out onto the frozen lake and sit inside it all day over a hole in the ice, with their space heater, old jokes, and vodka bottles.
We venture out towards the access road (the red flag marks the route of the electrical cable to the cottages).
Passing over a disgusting swampy creek
Out to the Bear Creek Drive thoroughfare, but . . .
. . . thankfully, still no sign of the little kitties.
We're covering the whole territory, vowing to take some form of retribution when we get hold of them.
They've hidden before for a while, but to be honest they've never wandered far enough to get lost.
So we'll just have to trust them, we suppose.
Of course, they've been right here all along. Seeking little shrews or voles in front of the cabins.
A quick trip up the Bear Creek Drive in a motorcar, past the Flintsteel River, the mouth of which is not visible from the road, to the Firesteel River, which is visible but also fails to make it all the way to the lake.